“You Suck” and Other Passive-Aggressive Jams

15 12 2014

As much as look forward to new releases and awards season, moments of triumph and honor for my favorite stars… I am completely guilty of enjoying their personal and professional lows just as well. I consume pop culture and celebrity news each waking hour of my day; absorbing the good, the bad, and the ugly indiscriminately.
Sorry not sorry but the silly, weak, thinly veiled instances where they lash out at each other are just as satisfying as when a cast lauds each other and their project, because it reminds me that they’re still just people! The following list of songs are some of the more passive-aggressive tunes in recent memory; they basically exist because the celebs in question have issues to address & feelings to express, but they pretend their privacy is so valuable that they can’t just come out with it about a given feud.

Inspired by Abigail Breslin’s recently released song “You Suck” which is a not so stealth attack on former flame, Michael Clifford, of 5SOS ‘fame,’  here’s a little list of my favorite passive-aggressive musical moments! An angry tweet can entertain us for days, but an ambiguously targeted lyric can spark fodder for a career (Carly, Alanis — I’m looking at you!).

 

10 – 7. Gwen Stefani, “Hollaback Girl” – Trent Reznor/NIN, “Starfuckers, Inc” – Stone Temple Pilots, “Too Cool Queenie” – Foo Fighters, “I’ll Stick Around
Target: 
Issue: General bitchery and fame grubbing
Most scathing lyric: [STP] “There was this boy / He played in a rock-n-roll band / And he wasn’t half-bad, At saving the world / She said he could do no right / So he took his life / His story is true…  It’s ok cause what goes around, comes around / It’s all right cause what goes around, comes around”

 

6. Rihanna, “Cold Case Love
Target: 
Issue: On-going Physical & Emotional Abuse
Most scathing lyric: “But your love ain’t the kind you can keep / Release me now cause I did my time / Of this cold case love / My heart’s no longer cold & confined / I’ve had enough”

 

5. Jonas Brothers, “Much Better
Target: 
Issue: Less than amicable break-up
Most scathing lyric: Get a rep for breakin’ hearts / Now I’m done with superstars / And all the tears on her guitar / I’m not bitter / Now I see everything I’d ever need / Is the girl in front of me / She’s much better”

 

4. Katy Perry, “Circle the Drain
Target: 
Issue: Addiction
Most scathing lyric: “Wanna be your lover, not your fucking mother / Can’t be your savior, I don’t have the power / I’m not gonna stay and watch you circle the drain”

 

3. Justin Timberlake, “Cry Me A River
Target: 
Issue: Infidelity
Most scathing lyric: “You don’t have to say, what you did / I already know, I found out from him / Now there’s just no chance, for you and me, there’ll never be / And don’t it make you sad about it”

 

2. Selena Gomez, “The Heart Wants What It Wants
Target:
Issue: General Douchebaggery & Insensitivity
Most scathing lyric: 
“You got me scattered in pieces, Shining like stars and screaming / Lighting me up like Venus, But then you disappear and make me wait / And every second’s like torture, Hell over trip, no more so / Finding a way to let go, Baby baby no I can’t escape”

 

1. Taylor Swift, “Dear John
Target: 
Issue: 
General Douchebaggery & Game Playing
Most scathing lyric: “You are an expert at ‘Sorry,’ And keeping lines blurry / Never impressed by me acing your tests / All the girls that you’ve run dry have tired lifeless eyes, Cause you’ve burned them out / But I took your matches, Before fire could catch me, So don’t look now / I’m shining like fireworks, Over your sad empty town”

 

 

Advertisements




Auto-Tune: Destroying the Music Industry One Pitch Correction at a Time

30 03 2011

This will serve as an open letter to the likes of Ark Music Factory, and any ‘label’ who purport to be cultivating “undiscovered” teen talents.  Well done, you have made innocent kids the ridicule of the free world and worse, made them think they are really on their way to some kind of Miley Cyrus-Justin Bieber stardom.

I know someone is going to comment and call me a “cyber bully” but I am in no way trying to ruin the self-esteem of these girls! That said, it cannot be ignored that Rebecca “It’s Friday, Friday, Friday” Black, Alana Lee, Madison Bray and Abby Victor are decidedly less talented than the mainstream teenyboppers like Emily Osment, fellow Disney star Selena Gomez, Bieber and the Jonas Brothers.  Luck and opportunity have a great deal to do with success, but people who are paying thousands of dollars to any studio or agency don’t realize they are gambling with neither on their side.
{{ RELATED: Read more about AMF founder, Patrice Wilson HERE }}

At least the gimmicky bubblegum singers of the 90s were in on the joke, and they profited handsomely. These songs blowing up online today, they have nowhere near the level of natural showmanship found on “I Want It That Way,” “Bye Bye Bye,” or “Genie In A Bottle.”
I can look back on my tween years with a grain of salt: I know they weren’t great, that they won’t go down in music history with the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Cher. 
I give my mom a lot of credit for putting up with all the shreiks I shreiked over BSB, NSync, LFO, the Spice Girls and Hanson. Their songs still bring a smile to my face and I can whip out a dance move or two, but they are just childish nostalgia. I assure, my tastes have improved with age.  I can only hope the same goes for the Ark girls.

It is sincerely freaking me out that at 22, I’m already having moments of “Oh, kids today.”

Anyway, the difference between the boybands and girl power groups of my youth? They had to at least be able to sing when they recorded. [Lipsynching in concert is a whole different animal.]

So here is where the real culprit in this whole do-they or don’t-they singing arguement comes in:  A U T O – T U N E .
The not-so-well kept industry trick, concieved by Antares Audio Technologies in 1997, is described on Wikipedia as a phase vocorder “used to disguise off-key inaccuracies and mistakes,” allowing “singers to perform perfectly tuned vocal tracks without needing to sing in tune.”

The software has been used intentionally, to achieve a particular effect on the voice, to much success by artists from Cher (Believe, 1998) to Kanye West (808s and Heartbreak, 2008).  The topic of major names in music using the tool even garnered press from Time magazine in ’09– with writer Josh Tyrangiel declaring, “It’s like Photoshop for the human voice. Auto-Tune doesn’t make it possible for just anyone to sing like a pro, but used as its creator intended, it can transform a wavering performance into something technically flawless.”

Rap mogul Jay-Z included a track called “DOA (Death of Autotune)” on his 2009 album The Blueprint 3, and later commented that the device had crossed over from an aid in the arsenal of legitimate artists to a societal joke. 
“It was a trend, it was cool in the beginning. Some people made great music with it, now it’s time to move on,” he told MTV.

So why is something that is sort of shunned by the better part of the entertainment industry, or at least thought of as a last resort on your off-est of days, so beloved by the people coming onto the scene now?  Jason Derulo, Taio Cruz, and most recently Kim Kardashian, have released singles in the last year that were heavily and obviously put through the digital wringer before reaching our radio waves.

The issues with Auto-Tune have consistently reared their ugly heads– but this time the anger is geared toward the vanity labels and personal projects posted to Youtube.

Yes, I’m looking at you, Rebecca Black. 

 

*Joseph Birdsong, you’ve got some sweet editing skills, but you’re not innocent in this either.*

—————————————

So what do we do?
Phenomenal songwriters like Taylor Swift don’t jump out of suburban high school every day.  Kids aren’t teaching themselves to play an instrument as much as they’re pretending to play one on GuitarHero(TM of Activision).

But does that mean we ought to settle for garbage like the “My Jeans” song by some girl with giraffe lips and grasshopper legs, who may or may not be Dustin Diamond’s illegitimate child?

Diamond, now 34 - Swerdlow, 12

 The only good thing I can say about her song, “My Jeans” (which I heard about last week from Tyler Oakley) is that this song is age-appropriate, but alas, her parent’s weren’t at the creative consultations that followed, which is evident by her current single, O.M.G., and its Miley Cyrus at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards-level disturbingness.
{{ RELATED:  MICHAEL BUCKLEY OF “WHAT THE BUCK” GIVES HIS TAKE ON “OMG” @ 1:33 MARK }}

It scares me that most middle schoolers don’t have the sense to sift through their parent’s CDs or (gasp!) records and discover the magic that is Elton John, Styx, Heart, or Janis Joplin.  And I blame Auto-Tune for that; the under 19 set don’t even know music exists without digital airbrushing- and how could they when we have all been buying it?!!

MetroStation made me consider taking a pencil to the ear, but Rebecca Black and Jenna Rose… I could never have seen this shit coming. 
I almost miss that horse-faced nepotistic poseur Trace Cyrus.       Almost.